Undoing the harness?

How to safely stop your child opening the seat belt or harness buckle

You’re not alone if your child’s started releasing the harness buckle or wriggling out of the belt – most children will do it at some time.

Understandably, it has to be possible to release the belt quickly and easily in an emergency. At worst this could be with a car upside down in a ditch at night, with access at arm's length through a window, or by a person in shock and unfamiliar with the car seat. So, for these reasons:

  • The catch cannot be hidden, must be obvious and accessible and mustn’t require a large force to release it.
  • A different type of catch – perhaps a friend's seat – may not be undone as easily but this is usually only temporary. Given the right conditions they’ll soon get the knack.
  • Don't be tempted to modify the buckle – parents have suggested reversing the buckle so it faces your child's tummy, putting a cover over the buckle or even wrapping it in tape!  It’s not safe, and your child may just see it as a new challenge.

Belts buckles

Divert their attention

Try persuading your child that there’s nothing to be gained by releasing the buckle.

  • Show that the car doesn't go (or it soon stops) if the belt’s undone.
  • It helps if you’re not in a hurry to get somewhere and is best started when you get a new seat or change the car.
  • If your child’s old enough to really want to get somewhere, that's ideal.
  • Try telling them that unless the seat belt is fastened, they won't get to the party, zoo, etc.
  • A raised seat increases your child’s field of view creating more distraction from the buckle.

8 February 2017

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